Smalling wants central role

Image: Smalling: Sees himself as a central defender rather than a right-back

England new boy Chris Smalling believes his future is at centre-half rather than right-back.

Defender keen to play in central defence

England new boy Chris Smalling believes his future is at centre-half rather than right-back. Smalling made his debut for England in the win over Bulgaria in the largely unfamiliar role, of right-back and the Manchester United ace impressed in Sofia. The 21-year-old has been used in the full-back spot at Old Trafford this season in the absence of the injured Rafael and he has excelled in the role with assured displays on the right. However, Smalling admits he sees himself as a central defender and prefers playing at the heart of the defence. "I played a few games at right-back in pre-season, but so did Phil Jones because we had lost players like Wes Brown and John O'Shea," said Smalling. "To play for United and now England in a position I'm not used to has been difficult. I have never played there before so it's been a steep learning curve, but I'll play wherever I'm needed. "I can do a job at right-back but I see it as a temporary thing. If Sir Alex tells me to play full-back then I'll try my best to do the job, but I think I am a centre-half. "I want to be challenging Rio [Ferdinand] and [Nemanja] Vidic for their place because that's where I feel I'm at my best. "That's where I have always played. I hope that in the future I'll get to play there for club and country."

Shock

Smalling admits he has been shocked to break into the England so quickly after coming from non-league football just three years ago. "Things keep happening so quickly that I haven't really been able to take stock of it all,' added Smalling. "I didn't expect England to come along so quickly. "My aim for the season was to play as many games as possible for United and to take it from there."

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